The Libyan slave trade has been on since 2013 or even earlier. Since the removal of Muammar Gaddafi – whose senior daughter also had slaves – as the Leader of the nation, Libya has never been able to recover politically, economically and otherwise. It would be appropriate to refer to the Libyan State as it is today as a failed State. The American government had backed rebel groups in Libya that captured and killed the country’s erstwhile leader, Gaddafi in 2011. This has plunged the country into a political and social imbroglio.
With the inability of the new government in place to assert its authority in the country, many atrocities have taken centre stage around the country without fears of being caught and prosecuted. This has led to the emergence of a vibrant slave market spread across the vast country. Slaves are bought at $400 and are taken to work under inhumane conditions. Private prisons exist all over the country where slaves that are bought are kept and from there taken to their work stations.
There are over 400,000 to 1,000,000 people (migrants) now stuck in Libya. Yearly, in the last four years, 150,000 migrants cross the Mediterranean to Europe from Libya out of which 3000 die every year according to the international organization for Migration (IOM). The combination of poverty in Africa, the failure of the Libyan State, the fact that Libya is the main transit point for migrants trying to reach Europe by sea and the fact that there is a market for these slaves have fuelled the trade in slaves in this country. It is very clear at the moment that the buyers of these slaves are Arab Africans and Middle Eastern Arabs within Libya.
In a move that is considered plausible, the Rwandan government has offered to ameliorate the sufferings of these migrants trapped in Libya. Through its foreign ministry, Rwanda has provided asylum to 30,000 mainly Sub-Saharan migrants. It is expected that the governments of other African countries will take positive steps in assisting trapped migrants in Libya and also tackle illiteracy, poverty and unemployment in their countries being the major factors behind the huge migrant traffic.
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